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** This NEW SHUTTLENWS report is presented by YANG YANG Badminton Products and their Western USA agents BADMINTON ALLEY. **

February 15, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - 1991 men's singles world champion Zhao Jianhua of China, regarded by many as one of the most talented badminton players ever, will not only be celebrating the start of the Chinese year of the Hare this week; he will also be celebrating his wedding to long-time girl friend Wu Wenjing. The traditional Chinese wedding will take place this week in his native province of Jiangsu.

Zhao burst into the badminton scene in 1984 as a left-handed spiky-haired 19-year old upstart, reaching the semifinals of the Scandinavian Cup and then beating the legendary Morten Frost at the Scottish Open finals. He beat Frost once more at the finals of the Japan Open in 1985 and then again at the All-England final for the first of his two All-England championships.

He was one of the favorites at the 1985 world championships in Calgary, but came down with a severe case of pneumonia, before he even played a single rally. The illness was so bad that Zhao was for some time uncertain that he would ever compete again. As it was, the pneumonia took Zhao out of the competitive badminton circuit for 12 months.

In 1986, Zhao came back and came back strong, winning the Malaysian Open and also the Asian Games men's singles gold medal. 1987 was an even better year for Zhao as he took the China Open, Thailand Open, World Cup and Singapore Open titles.

In 1988, he was on China's Thomas Cup winning team. In 1990, he won his second All-England and another Asian Games gold medal. He also was a key member of the Chinese team that successfully defended the Thomas Cup.

In 1991, he finally won the world championship gold medal that had eluded him in 1985, 1987 and 1989. He also was the World Grand Prix Finals champion that year.

At the 1992 Olympic Games, the top-seeded Zhao disappointedly finished out of the medals, losing in the quarterfinals to Hermawan Susanto 2-15, 17-14 and 14-17.

After the Olympics, Zhao dropped out of men's singles and tried his hand at mixed doubles, but did not achieve the international success that he had had in men's singles. At the 1993 world championships, he and partner Zhu Aihua lost in the round-of-16 to Richard Mainaky and Erma Sulistianingsih of Indonesia.

Zhao retired from international competition after the world championships and soon after became a coach for the Singapore Badminton Association.

Zhao played men's doubles at several Asian tournaments with Singaporean partners and in 1998, helped a weak Singapore men's team to the second round of the Thomas Cup Asian qualifier with some key victories in singles and doubles.

Zhao currently resides in Singapore where he works in the property investment division of an insurance company. He now only plays badminton once a week and still has the racket skills and shots, if not the endurance, that had for several years placed him on top of the world. Zhao is also connected with Yang Yang Badminton products where he designs and tests badminton rackets with his close friend and fellow world champion Yang Yang (Yang Yang Badminton is a sponsor of New Shuttlenws - Editor).

At the World Masters Games in Portland in August last year, Zhao and Yang Yang competed in the 30+ Elite division, and Zhao came away with two gold medals. He beat Yang Yang in the final of the men's singles and then combined with Yang Yang to take the men's doubles title.

Zhao's bride Wu Wenjing is also an international badminton player. She was a member of the Chinese national team and is currently a coach at the Singapore Badminton Association.

(New Shuttlenws has set up an e-mail address for Zhao's friends and fans to send their best wishes. The address is:


E-mail sent to this address will be forwarded to Zhao Jianhua and Wu Wenjing.)


Posted With The Permission Of The Copyright Holder.

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